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Francis Michel. YouTube

French priest to be charged for singing anti-Macron songs

The French prefect of Eure - a department in the north of France named after the river Eure - claims to have demanded that the prosecutor of the Republic step in after a priest sang an anti-Macron song.

Published: June 4, 2019, 12:31 pm

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    The Yellow Vests acted as the choir boys for a priest from the Eure, known for his commitment on the highway roundabouts with the demonstrators.

    The activities of Francis Michel were noticed during the mass of Sunday, June 2, reported 20 Minutes. On a video, we can see him, in his chasuble, singing anti-Macron songs surrounded by a crowd wearing Yellow Vests: “Emmanuel Macron, oh great idiot, we’ll come to get you at home…”.

    The prefect of the Eure, Thierry Coudert explained on Monday, June 3 that he demanded that “the prosecutor of the Republic under Article 40 assess the charges,” reported LCI. This particular article requires an officer or elected official to go to court when he thinks he has become aware of an offense.

    According to the prefect, the alleged offenses could fall under the law of 1905 on the separation of church and state and the penal code for contempt of the President of the Republic. The prefect added that the priest has been “officially suspended since November 2, 2016 and as such is no longer entitled to officiate within said church at Planquay”.

    According to the priest, “this is not a gathering of Yellow Vests, but rather people who came to the mass to thank me because I protested for a long time on the roundabouts”. The video of the singing priest has gone viral on social networks

    “We took a general photo in front of the altar, which does not seem to me to be inappropriate,” the priest added, before acknowledging that “what is regrettable is that the singing of songs were not held outside.” But the priest is no longer authorized to officiate, says the Bishop of Evreux, Bishop Nourrichard.

    In November 2016, the bishop of Evreux published a decree to suspend the abbot Michel, ordained as priest in 1975, forbidding him notably to celebrate sacraments or to hear confessions.

    Faced with the scene relayed on the social network, the prelate judged it “inadmissible to have such remarks, regardless of political views, and thus denature the mission of the Church. What can I do concretely? I have to go manu militari to fight with him? I do not have police or gendarmerie!”

    Nourrichard said that the church “did not need that” and that the priest in question had earlier been charged in court.

    The latter had indeed already made headlines for having dressed a figure of baby Jesus in a yellow vest in a manger. In addition, in 2015, he was sentenced to a fine of €15 000 for allegedly taking more than 100 000 euros from the church to help the needy.

    As was revealed Le Parisien Thursday, May 30, meanwhile, police officers who injured Yellow Vests will be facing the Criminal Court before the end of the year.

    After 29 acts of the Yellow Vests, 174 investigations were opened for police violence on protesters.

    Questioned on the subject by Le Parisien, the prosecutor of the Republic of Paris, Remy Heitz, said that 171 investigations were entrusted to the General Inspectorate of the National Police (IGPN) and three to the General Inspectorate the National Gendarmerie (IGGN).

    Only some 57 files were closed. “I want to be very clear: there is no desire on my part to avoid this violence or to minimize it,” insisted Remy Heitz. “I can already tell you that eight of them have justified the opening of a judicial inquiry, that is to say that the pursuit of investigations is now entrusted to investigating judges.”

    These investigations will include the facts from January 26, denounced by Jerome Rodriguez, a Yellow Vests seriously wounded in the eye at the Bastille in Paris.

    The Paris public prosecutor has also indicated that police will be facing criminal judges in court by the end of the year, although no member of the police force has been targeted by an indictment.

    The police official who admitted to having jostled Geneviève Legay, the 73-year-old activist wounded during Act 19 of the Yellow Vests in Nice (Alpes-Maritimes), said he was “sincerely sorry” for the victim while explaining that he was engaged “in a legally ordered charge”.

    The prosecutor, however, opened a judicial inquiry for “willful violence by a person holding the public authority”.

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